When Tragedy Strikes What Are the Priorities?
Last week a social media post came up in my feed and I won't be afraid to admit this but it made me cry and angry at the same time. No, it's not Daniel Andrews, it's not Trump. It's Chrissy Teigen's Instagram post over the loss of her and her husband's pregnancy.
I guess I will start with why it made me cry. Well, I know exactly how they would be feeling. In 2017 my partner at the time and I lost a pregnancy. We didn't plan on having children but it just happened which still doesn't make it any easier. Unfortunately, despite a few warning signs that she was pregnant, there were more signs that she wasn't. She had her suspicions though. She was late and took a couple of home tests but they kept coming back negative. Just as she was about to go to the doctor she had what we thought was her period. How wrong we were. At the time we were both relieved, she even joked with me "better late than never" and "well this is a new record". Two weeks later she felt very unwell and that night she was in total agony, she described the pain as if a bomb had just gone off in her abdomen. Thinking it might be her appendix, we went to the A&E (Emergency Room) where her blood pressure was taken in the triage and it was very low. Not dangerous but enough to promote her case to an instant admission. When the doctor arrived, in standard form for any woman who attends hospital with abdominal pains he asked: "Are you pregnant?"
To my surprise, she replied, "I think I might be". She explained to the doctor that in the last week she was having nausea each morning, unbeknownst to me, but the last week had her questioning many things. She worked as an Analysis and now here she was in the hospital with pains and for her brain, it started to add up in her mind. A pregnancy test now came back positive and with her low blood pressure, an urgent UltraSound was ordered. It revealed that she was bleeding internally and she was indeed pregnant. Although it was sadly ectopic and had ruptured. Not long after that, she was being prepped for surgery. It was touch and go when it came to this but fortunately, with some blood transfusions, they were able to stabilise her enough to ensure the surgery could be downgraded to keyhole instead of an emergency laparotomy. This sped up the physical recovery for her, but the emotional recovery took her a very long time. I probably should add here, this wasn't what broke us up. The fact that I am trans wasn't what broke us up either as she knew about the real me, having met the real me first. We broke up simply because, as I say she was an Analysis and her mind always looked into things on a deeper level than most people and she figured that we probably won't going to work out logistically, long story. We are still amazing friends and she is so supportive of my transition and is a great friend to me. She also approved me posting this with her name redacted. Regardless, her and I will always have a special bond that nothing can break.
As an Analysis, I also have no doubt this added to her mindset in looking into the fact we had lost a child on a far deeper level. Her emotional recovery took such a long time and she became so distant that I feared that she would do something drastic. As a partner, she was the most amazing person I had ever met and was so outgoing and full of life. This in an instant was drained from her. She kept to herself a lot, buried herself in work and pushed me away a lot. All I wanted to do was be there for her but she wouldn't let me. I never saw her cry, even after she came out of surgery. After about two months I was finally able to get her to see a councillor and we went together and I finally saw how much she was hurting and the guilt that she felt. I never blamed her for this but she believed this had happened because of her selfish behaviour and having an ectopic pregnancy made her feel as if she was a failure as a woman. In total from the start of this to acceptance for her took at least six months before her "spark" had returned and we could pick up from where we once were.
So I can understand the emotional toll a lost pregnancy can have on someone and how grief will affect people in different ways. So why did Chrissy's post make me angry?
The answer to that is the photos that Chrissy shared. The photos almost appeared staged to me. In those moments I couldn't have imagined myself or my partner grabbing a camera or asking someone to take a photo, or more, of the two of us grieving and then instantly post it to social media. I want to make this clear though, yes people grieve in different ways but if this was part of their process well I can't understand it and in my view, it made it almost trivial as if I was watching a reality TV show. The one thing I will give credit is the braveness of sharing such a tragic story in a public manner. That I do applaud but it's the manner and timing that I wonder about. If sharing a tragic moment in your life, especially with your fans or following is the instant thought with not just one but many photos, then it appears a little attention-seeking and self-obsessive does it not?
Let's look at Stephen Fry, for example, now yes this guy oozes class and sophistication, however, when he shared the story of his battle with Prostate Cancer he did it much much later on in the timeframe. There were no photos, it was just him in front of a camera sharing his story and his emotions on the subject were clearly there. I have seen others do a similar thing when publicly sharing a tragic story. It's not done instantly but when they feel it's the right time to tell the story.
So Chrissy Teigan and John Legend, yes you are permitted to grieve as you see fit. I will not fault you on that. You also have my massive sympathies and hope this is only a bump in the road that will make both of you stronger as you move forward into the future and build a family. I also respect both of you for sharing your story so publicly.
It's the manner and format that was used and the bombardment of photos used to share the story that seems a little inappropriate and as I say makes this situation appear more trivial than tragic. I have seen many others on social media who have lost pregnancies and have nothing but care and support for the two of you but also question the manner that you shared your story. If sharing tragic moments in a pictorial form instantly on social media is now the new norm then I think we are losing ourselves and sense of decency. It makes it appear that the most important thing now is "likes" and interaction with a following instead of our own personal self-worth. Where are the priorities? It seems that confidence is now from a social media presence over embracing those that actually are close by to you. So that is why I was a little angry when I saw that post but cried because I could understand the pain a lost pregnancy has on a couple. It was a very mixed bag, that's for sure.
Epilogue: If you like, my ex and I are thankful for the support we received at the time from The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust of the UK. Please feel free to donate this worthy cause for the amazing work they do. Click Here
We are also massive supporters of donating blood as well. Generally, blood donations are conducted via your Country's Red Cross. If not then be sure to find a way to donate a life in your home country.